March 07, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Billy Gillispie speaks to a player on the bench during the second half of the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first round of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center. Oklahoma State won 76 - 60. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, current Texas Tech players have apparently voice their concern about how they are being treated by head coach Billy Gillispie:
Texas Tech players expressed concern about the way they are being treated by second-year coach Billy Gillispie during a meeting with athletic director Kirby Hocutt this week, multiple players told ESPN.com.
The players were initially called to meet individually with members of the compliance department about the number of hours they were being asked to practice.
After the meeting with the compliance officials, the players met with Hocutt as a group.
Associate athletics director Blayne Beal, who is in charge of communications, confirmed that the meeting took place with Hocutt and the returning players.
Beal also said that the school was informed early Friday morning that Gillispie was hospitalized in Lubbock. Beal said he didn't know why he was hospitalized and had no further details on his condition.
Compliance officer Jennifer Brashear declined to comment.
Let's try to take this in separate items.
1. Treatment of Players: There has been one week of class and the players are voicing their concerns about how they are being treated by Gillispie:
The player said that Gillispie is a "good coach, teacher and mentor, but he's not the most personable person, not the coach you can go and talk to. He breaks you down. But he doesn't build you back up. It's hard to play for him when that happens every day. You feel like you're getting torn down and you can't get back up.''
This is nothing short of concerning, from a personal level of the players and especially in light of everything that has happened at Texas Tech. There is no allegation of mistreatment, perhaps this is a situation where Gillispie is being incredibly tough on his players, but this was very much a concern when Gillispie left Kentucky. The college-world is watching what Texas Tech does here, but like anything else, this is really dependent on if there was any improper conduct.
This anonymous player does go on to say that the players do like the assistant coaches for whatever that is worth.
2. Compliance: This is perhaps more concerning. I think that the college basketball programs were permitted to increase the number of hours they could spend with their players starting this year. So there is that. Again, there's a lot to be determined here and no specific allegation of what exactly happened, but the general thought is that the players are being asked to practice more than the NCAA allows.
3. Mutiny: Again, it's been one week of full practice, although some of the players have been around during the summer, but this is not encouraging:
"The meeting was in his office,'' a second player said. "He had no idea what was going on. When some of the players told him, he said he was going to try and make it best for us and enjoy the career that we have at Tech. The feeling is that some guys will leave if (Gillispie) stays, maybe some of the new guys or some of the old guys. We all have to talk to our families first.''
The first player said none of the Red Raiders talked about transferring during the meeting with Hocutt or made demands about Gillispie's job status.
I suppose this falls a bit in line with item #1 above, but at some point this is not about current players being tough enough to handle an old-school coach, but maybe a coach that is truly being too tough on players. After a week of practice, there are already players speaking anonymously about how the players may want to leave if Gillispie remains as head coach. I've been pretty open about how I feel about all of the past players transferring. This is not a good sign for a program, but I also acknowledge that this happens across the NCAA, but there were a high number of transfers for Texas Tech. I somewhat felt that Gillispie helped these players find colleges to attend, but that's still not the right way to treat players. The only word I can think of is troubling.
4. Gillispie Hospitalized: Whatever ails Gillispie, I hope he's better.
Just last week or so, I ended the final summer stories about the men's basketball team by stating, "trust in Gillispie." Perhaps I'm hypersenstive to players being mistreated or allegations of players being mistreated. It cuts both ways and Texas Tech fans know all to well that you don't always believe the player. Still, you have to take into account a coach's history, but I'm concerned.
UPDATE [Note by Seth C, 08/31/12 12:33 PM CDT ]: From CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, emphasis mine:
A Texas Tech official subsequently confirmed to CBSSports.com that the meeting between the players and athletic director took place, and that Gillispie was hospitalized Friday morning for an undisclosed reason. CBSSports.com asked a separate source who is close to Gillispie if the Texas Tech coach's job is in jeopardy. That source's response: "This is very, very serious."
It has taken less than an hour for this to become incredibly worrisome. I should also add that Katz and Parrish are two of the more respected college basketball guys out there.